The fast pace of urbanization and population growth in the Asian region presents particular threats and dangers to the natural habitat of the Asian elephant. Today there are 25,000 to 35,000 Asian elephants existing in the wild compared to around 200,000 elephants a century ago. But the last 25 years has seen a loss of about 150,000 of these animals, with severe incursions into their natural habitat.
Current predictions show that, if present trends continue, within 30 years the Asian elephant will be extinct in the wild. Claire Chiang, the Chairman of Wildlife Resources Singapore, and Ambassador of Elephant Parade Singapore, cites such contributing factors as economic growth, increased commercial logging and encroachment into the elephants’ natural habitat, with competition for natural resources between human beings and the elephant population.
She states, [e]xpansion of farmlands bringing farmers into conflict with elephants, bad management practices contaminating fresh water supplies and overall urbanization without considered planning all present growing strains upon elephant populations’ (Chiang 2011). She calls for more awareness and sustainable practices, globally.
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